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Safety enhancements continue
Effingham County School District
KIST locks give visual confirmation that a door is secure. - photo by Image submitted

RINCON — The Effingham County School District continues to be relentless in its efforts to protect its students and staff.

In the most recent issue of his newsletter, Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford said, “It is our belief that staff performance and student achievement are enhanced in a school in which everyone feels safe and secure. There are several safety initiatives happening in our district and others we will be implementing this fall.”

One goal is employ resource officers in all of its schools. It currently has them in the form of Effingham County Sheriff’s Office deputies in its middle and high schools.  

Recently, the Rincon City Council agreed to provide resource officers at Rincon Elementary School and the Rincon Learning Center. They will be Rincon Police Department employees but 75 percent of their salary will be paid by the Effingham County Board of Education.

The city councils in Guyton and Springfield are working on similar arrangements for the elementary schools within their city limits. 

“Guyton is excited to have a Guyton police officer serve our Guyton Elementary School,” Guyton Mayor Russ Deen said. “The safety of our children and those who educate them is paramount and we’re excited to work with the board of education to make this a reality.”

The sheriff has agreed to try to find resource officers for Blandford, Ebenezer, Marlow and Sand Hill elementary schools. His department, however, like many law enforcement agencies in the nation, has struggled to fill vacancies in recent months.

In another key safety move, the district is in the process of implementing the KIST (Keep It Safe to Teach) Lock System in every school. KIST locks provide visual confirmation when a classroom door is locked

The district is also installing the CENTEGIX CrisisAlert System in every school. The Rincon Learning Center already has it. 

CrisisAlert allows for lower response times by equipping school personnel with badges that feature buttons that send alerts to telephones and computers. Depending on the number of button presses, alerts can be limited to a school or sent en masse to first responders.

Previously, the district built security vestibules in each school. It also has Access Control Systems in all elementary schools.

“The safety of our students, staff and community must be a team effort,” Ford concluded in his newsletter. “We encourage each of you to report any concerns to us immediately. More information will be coming soon regarding our safety initiatives.”

School starts Aug. 4.